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Town Council ends bus trial following poor uptake

BusFollowing an initial trial sponsorship, Stone Town Council has called an end to the replacement bus service that was serving the town’s estates.

In October 2018 Stone Town Council (STC) began a trial to provide a replacement bus service after D&G pulled the plug on their routes following cuts from the County Council.

The trial of four, once a week services between the town centre and each of the Aston Lodge, Stonefield, Walton and Cherryfields areas was to help isolated Stone residents.

The services have been operated in conjunction with Community Link Stafford & District, but disappointingly the usage of the service has been at a much lower level than the Council had hoped for.

Due to the low numbers travelling, each return journey taken has cost the Council, on average, £17, resulting in a £13 subsidy after taking into account the fare paid by the passenger. This is a higher subsidy than the Council can afford to pay, and is more than the cost of the equivalent taxi fare.

As a result, the Council will cease to operate the service at the end of January 2019.

The Council will be making arrangements to refund the £7 membership fee paid by passengers to Community Link to enable them to use the service.

Councillor Rob Kenney, Chairman of the Council’s General Purposes Committee, said:

“I’m am pleased that the Council were able to offer this opportunity to continue a bus service into the town for people affected by the withdrawal of the D&G service.

Unfortunately, usage of the service was less than the Council had hoped for, and to continue it at current usage levels would have required an increase of almost 4% to the Town Council’s share of the Council Tax for the bus service alone. The Council has therefore reluctantly decided to withdraw the service from the end of January.”

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